Austin A90, A95 and A105 Westminster (1954 – 1959) Review

Austin A90, A95 and A105 Westminster (1954 – 1959) At A Glance


+Smooth six-cylinder C-Series power

-Sloppy road manners in standard form

The formula that made up the Austin Westminster was simple – and very effective. Take a straight-six engine and install it in a semi-upmarket saloon with plenty of resemblance to its smaller cousins, and you end up with a solid entrance in the middle class sector of the market. Austin’s offering was the Westminster – and it proved to be a success. Following on where the A70 Hereford had left off, the A90 Westminster may have looked like the A40 and A50 Cambridge, but only the doors were actually interchangeable between the models.

The Westminster was significantly larger and its C-series six-cylinder unit was suitable for its role. In 1956, the Westminster was became the A95 and A105, and both were differentiated from their predecessor by their larger rear window, a squarer rear wing line and a new grille. The A95 gained a bit more power but the A105 was the star of the range, featuring twin carburettors. The A105 also had lowered suspension, overdrive as standard and two-tone paint. A badge-engineered Vanden Plas version of the Westminster was also built, and was appointed in a way befitting of the marque – with a wood and leather lined interior.

Ask Honest John

What is the 'death rate' on older and classic cars?

"On the review of the Volkswagen Polo MkII, it says that the car has a '9 point death rate'. Would you be able to explain what this means and, if possible, where I can found out more about the safety of old cars?"
The 'death rate points' were based on some Government statistics released around the year 2000 which looked at deaths per vehicle registered. From memory, the figures were short lived and the EuroNCAP crash tests seemed to take over. If you're looking for safety data, EuroNCAP has all the historical data on their site ( going back to around 1999. Any further back than that and the safety of a car is dependent on the condition it's been kept in as much as it is the manufacturer's original design. For example, the 1950s Austin Westminster is legendary for its sturdiness, robustness, and occupant protection - but if it's completely full of rust and filler it will fold like a paper cup in a crash. Should the MoT test pick that up? Not necessarily. For a start, cars built before 1960 no longer require an MoT test - but a tester can only fail a car for rust if he can see it (and if it's in a certain place such as a load bearing structure or within 30cm of a seatbelt point), which can be hard to see if a shoddy repair has been slapped over with underseal.
Answered by Keith Moody
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